Artbound Presents: Studio A

FULL EPISODE

Aloe Blacc

Singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc performs new music and a cover of Joni Mitchell's 1970 classic "Big Yellow Taxi," a fitting union for a contemporary pop artist who is also an activist for various different causes. You might know Aloe Blacc best from his collaboration with DJ/producer Avicii, "Wake Me Up," which was a monumental hit back in 2013.

AIRED: August 22, 2017 | 0:26:46
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

ANNOUNCER: ARTBOUND PRESENTS

"STUDIO A."

[APPLAUSE]

[GUITAR PLAYING]

FEATURING THE MUSIC OF ALOE

BLACC.

[APPLAUSE]

[PLAYING "CALIFORNIA"]

ALOE BLACC: ♪ CALIFORNIA WAS

A SWEET LITTLE GIRL

SHE HAD BIG DREAMS FOR THE WORLD

AND ALL SHE EVER WANTED

WAS TO BE A STAR

SHE SAID, "I'M MOVING TO

HOLLYWOOD,

'CAUSE MY LIFE DOWN HERE'S

NO GOOD"

PACKED EVERYTHING SHE HAD

IN THE BACK OF A CAR

SHE GOT A JOB AT A LITTLE CAFE

LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO STAY

FOUND A NICE WARM BED

AND A ONE NIGHT STAND

BUT THE FELLA HAD A FAMILY

AND THINGS WOULDN'T WORK OUT

THIS WAY

AND EVERY TIME HE WOULD LEAVE

HE WOULD TELL HER AGAIN

"HEY, CALIFORNIA

KISS ME GOOD-BYE

WELL, I TRIED TO WARN YA

I'M NOT THE RIGHT GUY

JUST KISS ME GOOD-BYE"

CALIFORNIA HAD PRETTY EYES

DOUBLE TAKES FROM ALL THE GUYS

SHE KNEW JUST HOW TO GET HER WAY

AND IT WAS ONE RIGHT AFTER

THE OTHER

A FATHER, A SON, A BROTHER

NO MATTER WHO HE WAS

HE HAD TO PAY

EXCEPT THE FELLA FROM THE CAFE

SHE ALWAYS LET HIM STAY

SHE LOVED HIS COLOGNE

AND THE TOUCH OF HIS HAND

BUT HE STILL HAD A FAMILY

AND THINGS WOULDN'T WORK OUT

THIS WAY

AND EVERY TIME HE WOULD LEAVE

HE WOULD TELL HER AGAIN

AND AGAIN AND AGAIN

"HEY, CALIFORNIA

KISS ME GOOD-BYE

WELL, I TRIED TO WARN YA

I'M NOT THE RIGHT GUY

JUST KISS ME GOOD-BYE"

SHE SAID SHE LOVED HIM

THEN SHE STARTED TO CRY

AND SHE SAID IF SHE

COULDN'T HAVE HIM

SHE WOULD RATHER DIE

"HEY, CALIFORNIA

KISS ME GOOD-BYE

WELL, I TRIED TO WARN YA

I'M NOT THE RIGHT GUY

HEY, CALIFORNIA

KISS ME GOOD-BYE

WELL, I TRIED TO WARN YA

I'M NOT THE RIGHT GUY

JUST KISS ME GOOD-BYE" ♪

[APPLAUSE]

IT TOOK ME A WHILE TO GET HERE.

I STARTED OUT AS AN EMCEE DOING

HIP-HOP MUSIC, BUT THEN I

STARTED LISTENING TO A LOT OF

SINGER/SONGWRITERS AND FOLK

MUSIC AND SOUL MUSIC AND

MODELING MYSELF AFTER THOSE

ARTISTS. WHEN I WRITE SONGS,

EVEN THOUGH THE PRODUCTION MAY

SOUND LIKE POP, I FEEL LIKE

THE SENTIMENT IN MY VOCAL IS

FOLK SOUL. A LOT OF THE SONGS I

PERFORM TODAY ARE NEW SONGS, AND

SOME OF THEM RELATE TO MY FAMILY

AND EXPERIENCES I'VE HAD WITH MY

KIDS AND WITH MY WIFE, AND

OTHERS ARE SONGS THAT I HAVE

WRITTEN INSPIRED BY EVENTS THAT

MAY HAPPEN IN SOCIETY OR JUST

WANTING TO TELL THE STORY OF,

YOU KNOW, THE COMMON INDIVIDUAL

AND SING SONGS FOR THE UNDERDOG.

I JUST WANT TO GIVE PEOPLE A

CHANCE TO SETTLE WITHIN

THEMSELVES, TAKE THEM OUT OF

THEIR REAL WORLD FOR A SECOND,

AND GIVE THEM A PLAYGROUND THAT

THEY CAN PLAY IN. AND, YOU KNOW,

HOPEFULLY, I CAN MAKE SOMEONE

SMILE OR GIVE THEM A LITTLE

COMFORT IN A SAD TIME OR OFFER

THEM PEACE OF MIND WITH A LYRIC

THAT'S THOUGHTFUL.

[PLAYING "HERE TODAY"]

♪ I'M A LONG LOST

WANDERING SOUL

TRYING TO FIND WHERE I BELONG

AND I'M LOOKING FOR PLACE

WHERE IT FEELS ALL RIGHT

TO BE WRONG

JUST A LOUD MOUTH, HARD-HEADED

FOOL-HEARTED, STUBBORN

OLD SON-OF-A-GUN

CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK

WITH A CHIP ON MY SHOULDER

THAT WEIGHS A TON

ALL I KNOW FOR SURE IS

THAT NOTHING IS FOREVER

AND ALL THAT MATTERS IS

HOW WE GET ALONG TOGETHER

LIFE GETS HARDER EVERY DAY

THAT I GET OLDER

I HOPE I FIGURE OUT WHY I'M HERE

BEFORE IT'S OVER

'CAUSE WE'RE HERE TODAY

GONE TOMORROW

WE'RE HERE TODAY

AND GONE TOMORROW

THROUGH THE JOY

AND THE SORROW

WE'RE HERE TODAY

AND GONE TOMORROW

I'VE BEEN STUCK AT HOME ALONE

ON NIGHTS WHEN NO ONE CALLS

AND I'VE HAD NIGHTS WHERE

I COULD TAKE MY PICK

OR HAVE THEM ALL

AND I'VE HAD THOSE DAYS

WHERE I SEARCH MY POCKETS

FOR A NICKEL AND A DIME

AND I'VE HAD THOSE DAYS

WHERE TRYING TO MAKE MONEY

WAS A WASTE OF MY TIME

I'VE HAD SHINY, BRAND-NEW

LEATHER PENNY LOAFERS

AND I'VE HAD TORN UP, USED

OLD TENNIES HANDED OVER

ALL I KNOW FOR SURE IS

THAT NOTHING IS FOREVER

AND ALL THAT MATTERS IS HOW

WE GET ALONG TOGETHER

'CAUSE WE'RE HERE TODAY

GONE TOMORROW

WE'RE HERE TODAY

GONE TOMORROW

THROUGH THE JOY

AND THE SORROW

WE'RE HERE TODAY

AND GONE TOMORROW

NOW, WE AIN'T PROMISED TOMORROW

SO I'M GONNA LIVE FOR TODAY

BEEN FROM 5-STAR HOTELS

TO COCKROACH MOTELS

AND RODEO DRIVE RETAIL

TO THRIFT STORE RESALES

I'VE HAD CHAUFFEURED TOWN CARS

TO AN OLD, BROKEN-DOWN CAR

IT AIN'T WHAT HAPPENS TO YOU

IT'S WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT

'CAUSE WE'RE HERE TODAY

AND GONE TOMORROW

WE'RE HERE TODAY

GONE TOMORROW

THROUGH THE JOY

AND THE SORROW

WE'RE HERE TODAY

DON'T CRY, DON'T CRY

WHEN I'M GONE TOMORROW

HERE TODAY

HERE TODAY

HERE TODAY

HEY ♪

[APPLAUSE]

I CONSIDER MYSELF AN

ARTIVIST--AN ACTIVIST

AND AN ARTIST, SOMEONE

WHO STANDS UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT.

WHEN IT COMES TO ENVIRONMENTAL

JUSTICE, I FIND IT'S EXTREMELY

IMPORTANT FOR ARTISTS LIKE

MYSELF WHO HAVE A PLATFORM TO BE

VOCAL. A LOT OF TIMES, PEOPLE

JUST NEED TO BE REMINDED THAT WE

AREN'T THE OWNERS OF THIS EARTH

TO DESTROY AT OUR OWN WILL.

WE'RE JUST STEWARDS OF IT AND WE

PASS IT ALONG TO OUR KIDS, AND,

YOU KNOW, AS SO MANY INDIGENOUS

PROVERBS MAY GO. IT'S REALLY

IMPORTANT THAT IN MY MUSIC, I

TRY TO EXPRESS TO PEOPLE

THAT WITH LOVE, WE

CAN MAKE THIS WORLD A BETTER

PLACE, AND IT'S LOVE FOR

FELLOW HUMAN, BUT IT'S ALSO LOVE

FOR THE EARTH AND ALL THAT,

YOU KNOW, MOTHER EARTH OFFERS

US.

[PLAYING "DANDELION DOWN"]

♪ DANDELION DOWN ON THE GROUND

THE WIND WILL BLOW YOU AWAY

CATERPILLAR, GROW

YOUR WINGS

AND FLY AWAY

LITTLE BABY, DON'T YOU CRY

MAMA'S GONNA DRY YOUR EYES

AND SING

LITTLE BABY, HAVE NO FEAR

DADDY IS HERE

DANDELION DOWN ON THE GROUND

THE RAIN WILL WASH YOU AWAY

CATERPILLAR, GROW

ONE DAY, YOUR WINGS

WILL HELP YOU FLY AWAY

LITTLE BABY, JUST YOU WAIT

AND SEE

ONE DAY, YOU'LL BE GROWN UP

LIKE ME

LITTLE BABY, JUST YOU WAIT

AND SEE

ONE DAY, YOU'LL BE JUST LIKE

DANDELION DOWN ON THE GROUND

THE SUN WILL SHINE IN YOUR FACE

CATERPILLAR, GROW YOUR WINGS

YOU CAN LEAVE THIS PLACE

LITTLE BABY

PLAY ALL YOU WANT TO PLAY

IT'S YOUR WORLD TODAY

LITTLE BABY

ONE DAY, YOU'LL GROW TO BE A MAN

DANDELION DOWN

DANDELION DOWN ♪

[APPLAUSE]

"DANDELION DOWN" WAS A SONG THAT

I WROTE WITH A FRIEND THAT IT

JUST CAME TO BE ORGANICALLY. I

DON'T THINK WE REALLY WROTE IT

DOWN, JUST KIND OF PLAYED, AND I

STARTED SINGING. AS I LISTEN

BACK TO IT AND THINK ABOUT WHAT

IT MEANS, IT HAS A REALLY

POWERFUL STORY IN IT AND IT'S A

STORY OF A FATHER SPEAKING TO

A SON. AND AS A FATHER, IT'S A

SONG THAT I PLAY FOR MY SON AS A

LULLABY. WHEN I'M WRITING A

SONG, THERE ARE SO MANY

DIFFERENT WAYS TO DESCRIBE AND

EXPRESS THE FEELINGS THAT I WANT

TO SHARE, BUT I GO FOR THE

UNIVERSAL THEMES BECAUSE IT'S

REALLY EASY FOR ANYBODY IN ANY

CULTURE AND COUNTRY TO GET A

SENSE OF REALLY WHAT I MEAN.

USING THESE THEMES OF NATURE ARE

HELPFUL IN SHARING IDEAS AND

CONCEPTS THAT EVERYBODY CAN

RELATE TO.

[PLAYING "HARVARD"]

♪ SHE WALKED INTO THIS WORLD

I MADE ON A LITTLE PARK BENCH

UNDER THE SHADE OF A SWEETGUM

TREE WHOSE LEAVES WERE

RED AND BROWN

I LOOKED UP AND I SAW A FACE

THAT WAS FULL OF FORTITUDE

AND GRACE

SHE SAID

"IF YOU DON'T MIND

CAN I PLEASE SIT DOWN?

SEE, I'VE BEEN WORKING SINCE

THE MORNING WHEN THE SUN STARTS

SETTLING IN

THAT'S WHEN I WALK ACROSS

THE TOWN TO WHERE MY SECOND JOB

BEGINS

I'VE GOT TWO KIDS I MUST FEED

I GOT NO TIME TO SIT WITH THEM

AND READ

THE COUNSELORS KEEP ON

TELLING ME MY BOY'S

GOT SPECIAL NEEDS

WELL, DON'T WE ALL GOT ISSUES?

IT'S JUST THE STUFF

WE LIVE THROUGH

EVERYBODY'S GOT THEIR

COFFEE STAINS

I AIN'T COMPLAINING

I'M JUST SAYING

I AIN'T BEEN TO HARVARD

AND I AIN'T GOT NO BIG DEGREE

EVERYTHING I KNOW

I LEARNED IT ON THESE

BITTER STREETS

AND I CAN'T AFFORD THE GOOD LIFE

AND ONLY REAL LOVE COMES

FOR FREE

AND SOME DAYS MY HEAD'S

UP IN THE CLOUDS

BUT I'M ALLOWED TO DREAM"

AS SHE GOT UP AND WALKED AWAY

SHE SAID GOOD-BYE

I GAVE A WAVE

AND WATCHED HER SHADOW

FADE INTO THE CROWD

AND I THOUGHT MAYBE

WE'RE THE SAME

HEY, WE FEEL PRIDE

AND WE FEEL SHAME

AND WE BOTH KNOW THERE'S STILL

SOME THINGS

WE'VE YET TO FIGURE OUT

SEE, I'VE BEEN WRITING

SINCE THE MORNING

WHEN THE SUN STARTS SETTLING IN

I CROSS TOWN TO CHECK THE SOUND

WHERE MY SECOND JOB BEGINS

I'VE GOT TWO KIDS I MUST FEED

I GOT SOME DOUBTS

AND INSECURITIES

I PRAY THAT I'LL PROVIDE A LIFE

FOR EVERYTHING THEY NEED

WELL, DON'T WE ALL GOT ISSUES?

IT'S JUST THE STUFF

WE LIVE THROUGH

EVERYBODY'S GOT THEIR

COFFEE STAINS

I AIN'T COMPLAINING

I'M JUST SAYING

I AIN'T BEEN TO HARVARD

AND I AIN'T GOT NO BIG DEGREES

EVERYTHING I LEARNED

I LEARNED IT ON THESE

CRAZY STREETS

AND I'M WORKING FOR

THE GOOD LIFE

ONLY REAL LOVE COMES FOR FREE

END OF THE DAY, MY HEAD IS

IN THE CLOUD

BUT I'M ALLOWED TO DREAM

AS I'M HEADING HOME

I THINK OF HOW HER SHIFT

IS PROBABLY ENDING NOW

AND I'LL BE ON A PLANE

THIS TIME TOMORROW

SOME FOLKS ARE ON

AN UPHILL CLIMB

SOME COAST ALONG

ON BORROWED TIME

STILL OTHERS NEED A LITTLE

TIME TO BORROW

WELL, DON'T WE ALL GOT ISSUES?

IT'S JUST THE STUFF

WE LIVE THROUGH

EVERY DAY'S ANOTHER COFFEE STAIN

I CAN'T FORGET THOSE WORDS

SHE SAID REMAIN

I AIN'T BEEN TO HARVARD

AND I AIN'T GOT NO BIG DEGREES

EVERYTHING I KNOW

I LEARNED IT ON THESE

CRAZY STREETS

AND I'M WORKING FOR

THE GOOD LIFE

AND ONLY REAL LOVE COMES

FOR FREE

BUT SOME DAYS MY HEAD IS IN

THE CLOUDS

BUT I'M ALLOWED TO DREAM

I'M ALLOWED TO DREAM

I'M ALLOWED TO DREAM ♪

[APPLAUSE]

[PLAYING "LIVE MY LIFE"]

♪ WELL, I DON'T WANT TO

DIE YOUNG

'CAUSE I FEEL MY LIFE

HAS JUST BEGUN

SO MANY THINGS I WANT TO DO

BEFORE I'M DONE

I DON'T WANT TO DIE YOUNG

AND I DON'T WANT TO DIE ALONE

I WANT TO BE AROUND MY FAMILY

IN MY HOME

I WANT SOMEONE TO MISS ME

DEARLY WHEN I'M GONE

I DON'T WANT TO DIE ALONE

BUT IT'S SO HARD

TO GET IT RIGHT

TO GET IT RIGHT

AND IT'S SO HARD

TO LIVE MY LIFE

TO LIVE MY LIFE

AND I DON'T WANT TO DIE

WITH SHAME

I APOLOGIZE FOR ALL

THAT I'M TO BLAME

CAN'T JUST FORGET AND LEAVE

REGRET TO BURN IT'S FLAME

I DON'T WANT TO DIE IN SHAME

AND I DON'T WANT TO DIE POOR

BUT ALL I NEED IS JUST

SOME SHELTER AND A FLOOR

TO SLEEP IN PLACES THAT

I'VE NEVER BEEN BEFORE

I DON'T WANT TO DIE POOR

BUT IT'S SO HARD

TO MAKE IT RIGHT

TO GET IT RIGHT

WELL, IT'S SO HARD

TO LIVE MY LIFE

TO LIVE MY LIFE

MMM

MMM

SAID I'M JUST TRYING TO LIVE

MY LIFE

AND I WON'T ALWAYS GET IT RIGHT

IT'S A STRUGGLE

IT'S A FIGHT

BUT I KNOW THAT

MY FUTURE'S BRIGHT

AND IF YOU LOOK INTO MY HEART

YOU WILL SEE IT'S

JUST LIKE YOURS

FULL OF LOVE AND HOPE

AND DREAMS AND SO MUCH MORE

BUT IT'S SO HARD

TO GET IT RIGHT

TO MAKE IT RIGHT

AND IT'S SO HARD

TO LIVE MY LIFE

TO LIVE MY LIFE

I DON'T WANT TO DIE IN VAIN

I WANT TO FIGHT FOR YOU THROUGH

THUNDER AND THE RAIN

BECAUSE I KNOW FOR ME

YOU'D DO THE VERY SAME

I DON'T WANT TO DIE IN VAIN

AND I DON'T WANT TO DIE YOUNG

'CAUSE I FEEL LIKE MY LIFE

HAS JUST BEGUN

SO MANY THINGS I WANT TO DO

BEFORE I'M DONE

I DON'T WANT TO DIE YOUNG

I DON'T WANT TO DIE YOUNG

I DON'T WANT TO DIE YOUNG ♪

[APPLAUSE]

OVER THE YEARS, MY MUSIC HAS

EVOLVED TO BE A LOT MORE, I

THINK, PALATABLE TO A BROAD

AUDIENCE, AND THAT HELPS WITH

ACTIVISM BECAUSE THE MORE

PEOPLE WHO HEAR MY VOICE AND

HEAR MY MESSAGES GET TO

UNDERSTAND THE CAUSES THAT I'M

STANDING UP FOR. A LOT OF TIMES

I USE MY MUSIC VIDEOS AS PART OF

THE MESSAGE. SOMETIMES THE SONG

ITSELF DOESN'T HAVE A SPECIFIC

MESSAGE, SO WITH "LIVE MY LIFE,"

I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE

THE MUSIC VIDEO WITH MALARIA NO

MORE UK AND WE TOLD THE STORY

ABOUT A YOUNG KID IN RURAL GHANA

WHOSE FRIEND DIED FROM MALARIA.

AND AS THIS YOUNG KID GROWS

OLDER, HE BECOMES AN ACTIVIST

HIMSELF AND HELPS TO DISTRIBUTE

THE MALARIA NETS. IT'S IMPORTANT

TO DISCUSS ISSUES ABOUT THE

ECOLOGY AND HOW THERE ARE

CORPORATIONS WHO SHOULD BE

PAYING THEIR FAIR SHARE OF

TAXES AND REDUCING THEIR CARBON

FOOTPRINT. AND I DON'T WANT TO

DILUTE MY MESSAGE BY HAVING TOO

MANY CAUSES, BUT THERE ARE SO

MANY CAUSES THAT ARE IMPORTANT.

IF I COULD FIND A SONG FOR EACH

ONE OF THEM, MAYBE THAT'S THE

BEST WAY TO DO IT.

[PLAYING "THE BEST IS YET TO

COME"]

♪ RIGHT NOW IS THE OLDEST

THAT I'VE EVER BEEN

AT THE VERY SAME TIME

IT'S THE YOUNGEST

I'LL EVER BE AGAIN

THOUGHT I'D BE HITCHED BY NOW

WITH A PORCH AND A PICKET FENCE

LIFE WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS

SOMETIMES IT DON'T MAKE SENSE

MAYBE IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO

YOU LEARN TO WALK IN

YOUR OWN SHOES

STAND TALL AND DON'T

BE AFRAID TO FALL

'CAUSE THE BEST IS YET TO COME

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE

YOU CAN'T SLOW LIFE'S PENDULUM

THE BEST IS YET TO COME

AND I'LL FIND MY WAY

I'LL FIND MY WAY

I NEVER WON ANYTHING

UNTIL I CHOSE TO WIN

TILL I PROMISED MYSELF THAT I

WASN'T GONNA EVER LOSE AGAIN

EVEN WHEN YOU'RE AHEAD

BY A MILE

IT AIN'T OVER UNTIL THE END

EVERY MOMENT COUNTS

YOU GOT TO LEARN HOW TO

MAKE TIME YOUR FRIEND

BUT DON'T RUSH PERFECTION

JUST FIND DIRECTION

BE STRONG AND KEEP ON

KEEPING ON

'CAUSE THE BEST IS YET TO COME

WHEN IS ALL SAID AND DONE

YOU CAN'T SLOW LIFE'S PENDULUM

THE BEST IS YET TO COME

ALL MY LIFE, I'M TOLD

WHAT NOT TO DO

BUT I DON'T KNOW WHO CAME UP

WITH THESE RULES

ALL I KNOW IS WHAT'S RIGHT

FOR ME

SO I'LL DECIDE FOR ME

AND WHAT I SEE

IS THE BEST IS YET TO COME

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE

YOU CAN'T SLOW LIFE'S PENDULUM

THE BEST IS YET TO COME

AND I'LL FIND MY WAY

I'LL FIND MY WAY

I'LL FIND MY WAY, YEAH

SAID, I'LL FIND MY WAY ♪

[APPLAUSE]

THANK YOU, GUYS. THANKS FOR

SITTING THROUGH ALL THE SONGS.

[APPLAUSE]

THANK YOU TO WOODY APLANALP

ON THE GUITAR.

[APPLAUSE]

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